Imaging resolution of desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (DESI-MS) was investigated using printed patterns on paper and thin-layer chromatography (TLC) plate surfaces. Resolution approaching 40 ��m was achieved with a typical DESI-MS setup, which is approximately 5 times better than the best resolution reported previously. This improvement was accomplished with careful control of operational parameters (particularly spray tip-to-surface distance, solvent flow rate, and spacing of lane scans). Also, an appropriately strong analyte/surface interaction and uniform surface texture on the size scale no larger that the desired imaging resolution were required to achieve this resolution. Overall, conditions providing the smallest possible effective desorption/ionization area in the DESI impact plume region and minimizing the analyte redistribution on the surface during analysis led to the improved DESI-MS imaging resolution.